Conclusion 2.2: The operational test and evaluation requirement, stated in law, that the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation certify that a system is operationally effective and suitable often cannot be supported solely by the use of standard statistical measures of confidence for complex defense systems with reasonable amounts of testing resources.

Conclusion 2.3: Operational testing performs a unique and valuable function by providing information on the integration of user, user support (e.g., training and doctrine), and equipment in a quasirealistic operational environment.

In remarks to a symposium of the test and evaluation community, Paul G. Kaminski, former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, stated his belief that "a cultural change is necessary . . . one that can only begin by reexamining the fundamental role of test and evaluation in the acquisition of new military capabilities" (Kaminski, 1995). Similar remarks suggest that others share the panel's view that operational testing and its role as part of system development should be reconfigured to increase its effectiveness and efficiency in producing information about prospective military systems.

The panel believes that substantial advances can be realized by modifying the current defense acquisition and operational testing paradigm by approaching operational testing as an information-gathering activity. Although we do not offer a complete blueprint for reorganizing defense testing as part of system development, we believe we can contribute to ongoing discussions about the role of test and evaluation in defense acquisition. Chapter 3 describes improvements that the panel believes could result from moving toward a new paradigm in which modern statistical methods support a quality-focused acquisition process. The approach we advocate is consonant with recent trends both in industry and within DoD.

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